Some UTRGV students reported problems through social media about not receiving their financial aid in time to pay for tuition this fall. However, university officials say they were on schedule according to the school’s disbursement plan.
The struggles began in late August when tuition for the university was due on the 25th, but some students mentioned that they were not able to pay for tuition on time because their financial aid awards and loans had not gone through.
Sarah Rees, of Los Fresnos, said she completed every step to receive her loans by Aug. 26, but she had yet to receive her refund check when she was interviewed on Sept. 2.
“I was promised my disbursement by Aug. 26,” Rees said. “It is now Sept. 2 and I have yet to receive any of the awards, aka loans that I will have to eventually pay back, that were offered and accepted. Plus, I am now receiving emails stating that if I do not make a payment by Sept. 8, I will be dropped from all courses.”
Many students also reported not receiving their refund check by the time the fall semester began to help with other expenses at the university, such as textbooks and supplies.
Cody Bryant, a science sophomore with a similar problem, said he requested additional aid through loans to pay for the rest of his tuition and supplies, but the loans didn’t come in on time to pay by the deadline and he faced a difficult financial situation with his family.
“On the 24th I called and I stayed on hold for about 45 minutes until I was able to talk to someone, and they told me that they were gonna take up to three weeks to process the loan,” Bryant said. “I used my last day until the payment deadline to discuss with my mom how we were going to pull together over $1,500. I had worked in the summer and saved $900 for books, transportation and food. I had to use all of that for my student bill along with $600 from my mother’s credit card.”
Martin Baylor, UTRGV’s executive vice president for Finance and Administration, clarified some of the troubles students were facing with financial aid.
“The plan all along was everyone was kind of looking at them being late because they are later then they would have been at the legacy institutions, but they weren’t late according to what the plan was for how we were going to have to disburse things for UTRGV,” Baylor said. “Based on the idea that we were having to switch the student system over when we were in the midst of this summer, in August actually, switching the financial systems over, and the idea of switching banks and getting things to work, where you would’ve gotten the refund check; it was a UTRGV refund check and not anyone else’s refund check.”
Baylor also clarified that this process wasn’t a delay, but it was part of the layout for the UTRGV disbursement process.
“I think what we were maybe experiencing a little bit of today is the fact that some of those awards have taken longer through the entire process,” he said. “Because once they actually clear financial aid, our offices now have processes in place since we did our initial disbursement two weeks ago. They’re going normal at this point.”